A Washington State couple was convicted of starving their adopted Ethiopian daughter to death, Goskagit.com.
Larry and Carri Williams of Sedro-Woolley-area were convicted of all but one of the charges filed against them in the death of teenager Hana Williams and the abuse of an adopted son.
Hana was found starved to death in the back yard of the couple’s home where Hana was forced to live as part of a strict discipline regimen dictated by the couple’s religion.
A coroner’s report concluded that Hana died of hypothermia (prolonged exposure to the cold weather) that was aggravated by gastritis (inflammation caused by her stomach eating itself) and malnutrition.
An examination of Hana’s body also revealed multiple bruises on her body including a lump on her head.
At issue during the trial was Hana’s age. Her adoption papers indicated she was 13 at the time of her death. But the couple’s attorneys say she was older.
Hana’s chronological age is a key factor in determining Larry Williams’ homicide-by-abuse conviction. Homicide by abuse only applies if Hana was under 16 when she died.
Still, jurors found they had enough evidence to convict Larry Williams of homicide by abuse, according to Goskagit.com.
Members of Seattle’s Ethiopian community attended the trial every day in support of Hana.
Metassibia Mulugeta told Goskagit.com the case was “heart-wrenching and unbelievable.”
Mulugeta was relieved that the convictions meant freedom for the Williams’ eight surviving children, including the boy who testified about the abuse.
“Deprivation of food. Deprivation of socialization, within the family. Deprivation of sleep. Deprivation of total freedom. I mean, (Hana) was under control in every sense, and they both were,” Mulugeta said. “How long could she have lived and endured that?”
Skagit County Superior Court Judge Susan Cook set a sentencing date in several weeks. They both face life in prison.
Cook set a $750,000 bail for Larry Williams and Carri Williams’ bail was set at $1.5 million.